At 2,571 feet, Mount Tamalpais’ East Peak is the highest point in Marin County. On a clear day the 360-degree panorama from Mount Tam’s true summit are hard to beat and arguably the best in the bay area. You'll enjoy sweeping vistas of the San Pablo and San Franciso bays, East Bay, San Francisco's skyline, Mount Diablo, the Marin Headlands, West Marin and the Pacific Ocean. Mount Tamalpais State Park maintains a road that connects the western portion of the park to East Peak and allows visitors to drive within 0.3 miles of the summit. The remaining distance must be huffed on foot via the Plankwalk Trail. The trail ends at the summit and Gardner Fire Lookout, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid-1930s and is still in use today by the Marin County Fire Department.
Nearly a half-mile high, the climate on East Peak is drier and cooler than the western slopes of the park. The air can be quite cold and windy on the summit, so don’t forget to bring layers to keep warm. A network of trails beginning lower on the mountain, including the Fern Creek Trail, wind their way up to the East Peak Visitor Center and parking area and make for a good half-day excursion. Of historical note: from 1896 to 1930, a train car called Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway transported visitors from Mill Valley to the top of Mount Tam along the Old Railroad Grade; the grade is now a popular hiking and mountain biking route.